About Ireland eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 72 pages of information about About Ireland.
and fictitious—­or when sincere—­save in certain splendid exceptions, of whom Mr. Laing is the honoured chief, and the only Home Ruler who makes me doubt the rightness of my own conversion—­it is a mere sentimental impulse shorn of practical power and working capacity.  In any case it is a one-sided thing, leaving out of court Ulster, the integrity of the Empire, and the obligations of historic continuity.  It is a cry that has been echoed by violence and murder, by outrage and ruin, and that has in it one overwhelming element of weakness—­exaggeration.  It is the cry at its best of enthusiasts whose ideas of human life and governmental potentialities are too generous for every-day practice—­at its worst but another word for self.  For the men who raise it and hound on these poor dupes to their own destruction are men who would be rulers of the country in their own persons, or members of a Gladstonian ministry, were the Home Rule party to come to the front.  With neither section does the strength, the glory, the integrity, and the continuance of the Empire count; and the honour of England, like the true well-being of Ireland, is the last thing thought of by either party.  The motto of the one is:  “Fiat justitia ruat caelum”—­of the other:  “Apres moi le deluge.” The one abjures the necessities of statesmanship, the other the self-restraints of patriotism.  Surely the good, wholesome, working principles of sound government lie with neither, but rather with the steady continuance of things as they are—­modified as occasion arises and the needs of the case demand.


[Footnote A:  Lord Hartington’s statistics—­and Lord Hartington is a man whose word not his bitterest enemies have dared to question or to doubt—­are these: 

1880 (No coercion)               2,585 agrarian crimes.
1881 (Partial and weak coercion) 4,439    "        "
1883 (Vigorous coercion)           834    "        "
1888 (Vigorous coercion)           660    "        "


[Footnote B:  Mr. Hurlbert, a Roman Catholic, an American, and a personal friend of Mr. Davitt—­all which circumstances give a special weight to his testimony, now borne after frequent and lengthened and recent visits to Ireland, and after close converse with men of all classes and of all political and religious views, says in his Ireland under Coercion:  “An Irish gentleman from St. Louis brought over a considerable sum of money for the relief of distress in the north-west of Ireland, but was induced to entrust it to the League, on the express ground that, the more people were made to feel the pinch of the existing order of things, the better it would be for the revolutionary movement.”—­The Irish Question, I., 193.  By Dr. Bryce.]

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